The Rhythm Is Lost

The band marched by me. I was sitting in this high-rise hotel because I set fire to my home and my wife the week before. The claims adjuster was out yesterday and said I’d be reimbursed.

So I wasn’t worried. Wasn’t panicked. Wasn’t preoccupied with anything to make me break the way I did.

The gentleman in front was marching in time, perfectly so. Everyone behind him though…was doing something else. There was no pattern. No rhythm.

I felt an itching in my throat, a terrible reaction building within my person. Before it could sing its own song, their feet suddenly joined together. Stopped at once and began again on the left foot. For a moment, five seconds at most, their feet marched together.

Until a man in the back stuttered, lost his step. Then a woman in the middle slowed. A man up front sped up. A couple of girls even skipped a step to try and rejoin the crowd but it was too late.

The rhythm was lost.

I watched chaos bob their heads. It gripped their legs and soon their breath. The song became noise. The rhythm gone from their spirit.

I watched chaos leak onto the street. I felt it coming up to me, to seize my soul and make me bob along to the nonsense.

Photo by Stephen Niemeier on

My head, of its own volition, began nodding with the nonsensical, imperceptible rhythm. The angry itch inside my throat rose and rose and rose until I had acid and blood flooding my mouth.

The rain began to pour outside and it fell however it wished. No pattern. No rhythm. It had adopted the chaos of the crew marching on the streets below.

It was too much for a man like me.

So I banged, banged, banged my head against the wall until the plaster crumbled at my feet. Until I couldn’t hear the drums pounding out of time. Until my eyes were blurry with blood and I couldn’t see the feet tripping over their mistakes.

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